Global chicken parts

plate of chicken

(photo credit: The fabulous Robyn aka roboppy)

Chicken is eaten all around the world, but which parts are more in demand differs from region to region. This difference makes writing about recipes from a place where most reader's aren't, a bit of an issue.

Many Japanese recipes that use the white or breast meat of chicken are almost apologetic about doing so. They are often accompanied by comments like "It's a cheap cut but.." or "it's tasteless but you can jazz it up like this..." and so on. In Japan, it's the dark meat that comes from the leg and wings that is valued more.

For example, 'torihamu' or chicken ham is a recipe that first circulated on the Japanese forum 2ch. It was originally conceived as a very cheap protein dish that students could make. There are of course many recipes that call for white meat. But when you want full flavor, you usually use dark meat, in karaage for instance, or something like this simmered chicken wing dish. Dark meat is more expensive than white meat in Japan. This preference for dark meat is seen in China and Korea too.

This probably seems strange to you if you live in the U.S. for instance, where white meat is the favored part of the chicken. It costs a lot more than dark meat. People think it's much healthier (which is ironic when that 'healthy' meat is served in a salad with lots of mayonnaise).

The most ironic thing to me is that while white meat is cheap and dark meat is a bit more expensive but still quite inexpensive in Japan, a whole bird is very expensive. This is probably because a whole bird is only served on special occasions in Japan (usually Christmas dinner). Cooking a whole bird is not part of traditional Japanese cuisine. So, because it still has an exotic, expensive image, buying a whole bird costs more than buying its parts. This doesn't make any sense in terms of labor costs involved and things like that - it's just a matter of supply and demand and what the market perceives.

In France, a whole bird is eaten all the time, and is really cheap. We try to buy birds that have been raised under reasonably good conditions, which means we avoid the really cheap ones of dubious origin that can be bought for a couple of euros per kilo. So we usually get domestically produced 'label rouge' birds, which on sale cost maybe 5 to 6 euros for a 1.5 kilo bird, plenty enough to serve 2 people plus leftovers. Breast meat is the most expensive part and is usually sold boneless. Legs are cheaper, and are not available as boneless parts. It was the same in Switzerland, so I've become very good at boning a chicken since many Japanese recipes call for boneless chicken. In Japan, all parts are available boned, except for the wings, but you can buy wings in parts (e.g. the 'drumettes' and the mid-section).

What parts of a chicken are most favored where you live? Do you eat whole birds, only chicken parts, boned, boneless?

(This is part 1 of a mini-series. Next time I'll ponder on the different cuts of beef and pork.)

Filed under:  ingredients chicken thinking

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I live in the UK and it is the breast that's most valued. However, I'm Chinese and really couldn't stand chicken breasts at all! I just find them tasteless and dry. Luckily for me, it also means I can get thighs, drumsticks and wings cheaper than the breasts. By the way, boneless chicken thighs are very common in UK supermarkets. This is what I buy most often.

When I lived in Japan I loved Nankotsu kara age in the izakaya. Crunchy deep friend bits of chicken cartilage. I have never seen cartilage for sale here in Scotland.

I'm a Japanese person who can't stand nankotsu >.<

It sounds as if the UK is very similar to the US in that whole birds are one of the cheapest "roasts" to buy, and breasts are the most expensive parts.

I actually like leg meat myself - I suppose I am a bit indifferent to the light or dark argument, but I feel that breast meat can get quite dry and is much easier to overcook than dark meat. Same with pork unless it has a decent amount of fat on it. As a child I used to dislike fatty meat, but as an adult and cooking for myself, I started to appreciate it more, though it can be hard to find while also trying to buy relatively "good" (by which I mean ethically or locally farmed) meats.

On my two trips to Japan I ended up eating in quite a few izakayas with friends after going out to rock gigs. Mostly I just went along with whatever was ordered for the group, and so I think I have probably tried most permutations of chicken parts on a stick including what I was informed are known as "paper lanterns" (/smiles) and cartilage. I couldn't get along with the cartilage, or indeed with the general use of gristly meat, but other than that I enjoyed it all.

Possibly I was raised to appreciate all kinds of meat since my parents were kids/teenagers during rationing in the UK, and so "fussy eating" was simply not something that I ever learned by example.

Oh - I should note that I avoided internal organ meat. I have never liked or developed a taste for that, of any variety, so it falls under the "will only eat to be polite if at someone's house" category!

As I've mentioned before, I don't mind a good chicken liver now and then. But for me, it's associated with the rural US South, like fried okra or cornbread.

In fact, this may be why I have trouble sticking to a healthy diet for long--so many of the tasty Southern foods I grew up with are deep-fried! I have trouble staying away from fried foods--I almost went nuts when I realized that you can buy breaded okra in the frozen-veggie section of the supermarket and pan-fry it at home.

France is very similar to where I live (UK). A whole chicken is a significance cheaper than the parts -- the absolute cheapest I can buy a whole chicken for from a supermarket is about £3 a kilo (2.2lbs; comes out to just uner £1.40 a pound); comparitively skinless, boneless breast is between £7 and £10 a kilo/£3.20 to £4.60 a pound depending on how much and what type you buy (larger packs are cheaper per kilo; mini fillets or diced is more expensive).

We can get whole bone-in legs for about £4.50 a kilo/a little over £2 a pound, bone-in thighs about the same; chicken wings about £3.50 a kilo/£1.60 a pound. You can get boneless thigh fillets but those creep up to £7 a kilo, comparitive to breast.

Whole chickens are routinely cooked, typically for a roast but occasionally cooked as cooled to be shredded for salads or similar. Given the economic climate, it seems to be a little more common for people to buy a whole chicken and deconstruct it into its component parts.

Chicken breast seems to be more favoured -- while I've not really noticed any personal preference in white meat vs. dark meat, you'll be hard pressed to find thighs or wings (outside of barbeque wings) on a dine-in restaurant menu, and even then barbeque wings are only offered as a starter option.

I admit, I find the taste of dark meat a little strange and off-putting, but that might be because I'm not used to it. While at uni I did have a quick recipe for garlic and sun-dried tomato thighs but I stopped having it because I couldn't get used to the taste (and I will admit, my cycle can and does affect my taste so things which are tolerable at the beginning are horrible at the end).

US Great Lakes region -- Things are changing. Chicken used to be exactly as the UK readers above are reporting: whole bird cheapest, with parts ascending in price from the ground up on the bird. That's still the case for organic, free-range birds in general, but factory chicken is very mixed up. Some priced like free-range but a little less expensive. Some stores price it with legs cheapest and wings and breast meat more expensive. Sometimes, strange things happen and this morning I bought skinless breast meat for less money than the whole bird right next to it by weight, and still less than the deboned thighs often are. So it's kind of inconsistent and variable. Wings are almost always rather more expensive by weight than leg parts because "Buffalo wings" (deep fried with only a little starch dusting and then tossed with some variety of chili-based spicy sauce) are still popular enough to keep the demand high.

Here in Australia chicken meat is priced something like this: (cheap) wings - drumsticks - breast (expensive) with stuff like "thighs" (boned) and "whinglets" somewhere in between. "Skin on" / "skin off" makes some difference, as well as the way the bird was raised: (cheap) "battery hen" - "corn fed" - "free range" - "organic/biodynamic" (expensive).

Breast meat can cost time more than the cheap cut in the same category. Organic breast (AUD30+/kg) can cost up to twice as much as freerange one (AUD18/kg). Organic drumsticks are times cheaper then organic breast (e.g. a pack of 3 would only cost a few AUD) and might be on par with a cheap, not-so-freerange breast.

As far as the whole bird goes people do buy them occasionally to roast, or they just buy a roasted one. I'd say very roughly it costs 1/2 price of the breast in the same category, per kg.

I normally buy the whole chicken, breast meat and sometimes drumsticks but I try and stick to the more expensive freerange / organic kind ( for both ethical and health reasons ).

I find it intriguing how you dismiss breast meat as something that "people think it’s much healthier". That kind of implies it isn't, or not a lot healthier, or was that only said in the whole "mayonnaise" context ? I do realise it depends on what one sees as "healthy". I did a quick search and couldn't find a definite answer except for some sites claiming wings / drumsticks being up to 25% more fatty than breast. However, if you deep fry those with the skin on you wouldn't even notice .. :)

Meanwhile, here's an interesing article from Slate - The Dark Side of the Bird.

Sorry, the tag for the link in my previous comment hasn't worked: The Dark Side of the Bird.

In California, the cheapest cut is a six pack of "leg quarters". This is my son's favorite, because I roast them with bones in and skin on (fat is flavor). A leg quarter is kind of awkward, because it also contains part of the backbone and often the tail, but on the bright side, it also contains the "oyster".

However, the main reason white meat gets dry is because it gets overcooked waiting for the dark meat to be done. It is a quick, lower fat, meal when cooked separately. I recommend skinning and deboning a breast, and using a teflon frying pan (to avoid having to oil it) with a lid.

Start with the pan hot enough to sear it both sides quickly. Then turn the heat down to low, put the lid on and let it cook until done (usually 5 minutes or less if it isn't a really monsterous breast). When liquid makes a pool around the breast, it is usually done. It is quite tasty in a mild way, and moist!

In New Zealand I don't think there is a general preference. You can buy whole chickens both in their (reasonably) natural state and also prestuffed and/or brined. You can buy boneless breasts with or without skin. You can buy drumsticks and drumlets (the chicken humerus) only with the bone in, but you can buy thighs whole, skinless, or skinless and boneless. You can also buy the entire legs (drumstick and thigh) with bones and skin still in/on. Then you can buy whole wings buy themselves too. No huge price differential either. You just buy what suits.
I prefer skinless thigh fillets for things like curries and pies and stir frying. Whole chickens as natural as possible for roasting - I like my own stuffing best.
Chicken here is cheap. It didn't used to be. I am 56, and when I was a child a chicken was an expensive treat. Getting a chicken for roasting was not easy either - I remember my mother boiling the things before they got roasted, so I imagine they were superannuated layers.

I live right around Buffalo, NY in the States. As the home of the "Buffalo Wing" we tend to value that part very highly. Breasts are also sought after but commonly on the bone with skin to keep as much flavor when grilling as possible.

When I've been in New York City I was pleased to find restaurants serving chicken feet, though it is absolutely to a niche market.

I certainly miss the wide variety of chicken parts that I had access to while living in Nagoya, mostly at yakitori restaurants. Few things are as delicious as chicken skin skewered and grilled.

In the UK, I have never seen chicken breasts with bones. I've only JUST been able to find chicken breasts with skin on them (which usually come with a wing attached as well!). The most popular type of chicken here is the whole chicken or skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

I prefer wings (which are dirt cheap here and often sold for use in stocks!) and thighs but sometimes use chicken breasts too. Wings at restaurants are few and far in-between (except for at Nandos).

Breasts with bones used to be more widely available back in the early '90s but I agree - you never really see them at all now.

Don't see whole legs (drumstick and thigh still joined) any more either except occasionally in restaurants. And I've only seen wings in the local butchers, not supermarkets.

I live in Holland, home of intensive farming. Meat is very cheap here in general, but consumers are getting more and more aware of ethical issues, so "freedom food" is getting more popular and widely available these days.

Most Dutch people are still completely incapable of eating meat with bones in it, so the preferred cut is the boring chicken breast, skinned and boned, completely devoid of flavour. This is the most expensive cut. Wings are cheap, because "there is no meat in them". Legs and drumsticks are cheap, too, also because of the bone issue. Whole chicken offers the best value, but most people find it too much hassle to deal with. The worst you can do is to buy pre-cut chicken fillet, to go with pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables -- they're the worst rip-offs.

I usually buy a whole chicken or just the legs. Whole chicken is really versatile -- after you cut the parts out, the carcass makes a good soup (and you can still pull some meat off it). Legs are great for all kinds of dishes, from steaming to roasting and stewing. I like dark meat better -- it has more flavour and good texture.

What annoys me the most, however, is that meat in Holland are usually injected with saline solution to pump up the net weight. If you go to the supermarket and read the labels carefully, you will realise that those innocent-looking fillets are only 90-95% real meat. Worse still are the minced meats, as the real meat percentage goes a lot lower.

In my family, it's always been an unspoken understanding that Jews (of which I am one) like the "tasty parts" of a chicken - dark meat, the "Pope's nose" (butt), liver/stomach/gizzards - and I have always kind of prided myself on that cultural identifier. I prefer a whole chicken to its parts, and by the time I've eaten all those yummy bits, I'm quite full and everyone else can have at the rest. I also really love the "oysters:" the two little round pieces of dark meat on the back bone of the thigh area.

Gee, I like both dark and white meat--just depends on what the dish is. If fried or stewed chicken, I prefer dark meat. For a pan-seared dish, I prefer white. I hate breast meat that's been overcooked, but if done properly, it is very juicy. It's just that more often than not, it's overdone. I guess we are fortunate in California that all versions of chicken are pretty widely available: whole, parts, skinned, skin-on, boned, deboned.

I often buy the whole chicken and roast it. We eat the leg quarters one night, then the breast portions either end up in chicken and vegetable pot pie or chicken salad. Everything left ends up as chicken soup. I learned to be thrifty from my mom who could apparently produce dinner for six out of thin air and love.

In Slovenia it's basically whole and parts. We tend to use as much of animals as possible with any kind of meat. So the costs for various parts don't differ a lot. The costs for a full bird is similar to France. And the parts generally don't really differ that much.

I live in southern California in the US. Breast meat is what I grew up with. Always boneless. It tends to be what you see in restaurants everywhere.

I tend to buy thighs, which from a price standpoint seems to be the best buy in my area and has a good amount of flavor. I also buy whole birds from time to time (tend to get used for stock, and the meat shredded for soup). I also love the hearts and feet, but to find those you have to go to ethnic oriented grocery and restaurants.

Wings are common in sports bars, smothered in buffalo (semi-spicy) sauce or bbq (sweet) sauce.

I think I'm lucky where I live. You can find just about any food in southern california if you look around long enough.

Whole birds are cheap and easy to come by - often a lot cheaper by pound that parts. What I find strange is that cooked birds - kept hot - are sometimes cheaper than raw ones!

I like to roast a bird in cold weather. It fills the house with such a lovely smell and a single chicken translates to a great dinner for two and loads of leftovers to be re-used in lunches and dinners throughout the week. In warm weather, I buy the bird already cooked at the store. Either way, I love to do this when I've got a very busy week coming up. My husband loves the breast meat and the skin. I love the drumstick and wing, with as much skin peeled off as possible. It's a match made in heaven.

For cooking parts only, my preference is for boneless skinless thighs (dark meat). It tastes best and is inexpensive. It's a great cut for grilling, too. Another cut I like for quick weeknight cooking are thin-sliced breasts or "tenders". Because it is white meat, it requires more sauce or marinade, but that's so quick and easy that it's worth it.

I've started seeing boneless skinless chicken thighs recently at the grocery stores here in Paris, the Loue brand. It feel like such a treat to not have to de-bone chicken thighs when I find them!

In the Midwest USA, from cheapest to most expensive:
Leg Quarters with Skin and Bone < Rotisserie (cooked) whole birds < Raw whole birds < Skinless Boneless Breasts.

It seems that everyone wants to be healthy now, because even back in the 90s breasts weren't such a big deal. I still find it insane that Breasts can go for $7-15 for 3lbs, while you can get a 10lb bag of Leg Quarters for $5. ESPECIALLY with so many cheap foods that go well with dark meat (grapes at $1.89/lb anyone? ).

In Chicago, it depends on where you go but some of the smaller independent markets have better prices. I can usually buy leg & thigh pieces (which I cut apart) for 69 cents a pound. Breast meat is more expensive, usually $2 per pound and often much higher. Whole chickens can be on special for about $1.79 per pound. If I find boneless thighs on sale or even breasts on sale I will stock up.

Curiously, wings are quite expensive. I finally decided this is likely because of the popularity of spicy chicken wings, especially at holidays and always for Super Bowl parties.

We have been served dark meat in various restaurant dishes, sometimes with apology, sometimes with explanation that they are more flavorful. They are!

I grew up in rural Indiana (Great Lakes area of the US), and we raised our own chickens when I was a kid. As a result, I learned how to slaughter, clean and butcher cut up a chicken from my mom. One part of the chicken that you can NEVER get from a grocery store chicken (unless you buy it whole and cut it up yourself, of course) was something we called the 'pulley bone', but most every place else calls the 'wishbone'. It's a small piece containing the cut from the whole breast. Grocery stores just never cut the pulley bone off. My sister and I used to fight for that piece of chicken like cats and dogs whenever mom made fried chicken, because of course after you ate the meat you got to make a wish! :)

In central canada chicken breasts are the most popular. My grandparents grew up on farms so eating any part of the chicken (liver, wings, thigh, neck etc) is normal to them. I also love all parts of the chicken and wings roasted on the bbq with a bit of olive oil and spices are my favorite in the height of summer. :P My grandparents often buy a already roasted whole bird and eat it throughout the week.

My parents(b. 1961/1959) however prefer chicken breast and will buy it almost exclusively, even when I show them thighs are nearly 1/2 the price sometimes!! I think it is a generation thing? don't know for sure why :P

Doing the expat thing in India. There's quite a difference between there and the US/New England area, where I'm from.

In the northeast US in a regular supermarket you can get whole chickens of many sizes: fryers (under 2.5 lbs); regular chickens, whole Cornish Hens (which are just very small birds, and not something exotic at all), roasting chickens of 5+ lbs, stewing fowls (old, tough but tasty), and in some markets, capons large (formerly) male birds also intended for roasting. Plus you can often get whole frozen kosher chickens, even in an otherwise non-kosher store. All are sold skin on, plucked and eviscerated, with the liver, heart, and neck often tucked inside.

You can also get parts - leg quarters and breast quarters, full bone/with skin in often with rib section remnants on the breast quarters. All markets also sell boned breast meat (skin off); and legs. Most also sell packages of bone-in/skin-on thighs and tubs of livers. Due to the rise of the Buffalo style snack wing, most also sell wings. I've even seen larger "roaster wings" and wings pre-trimmed of the scrawny third joint. As a rule, the more that's been done to the chicken, the more expensive it is. With the exception of wings, which carry a hefty premium, especially around barbecue and football seasons.

If I want to buy something else, like chicken feet, necks, hearts, gizzards, boned thighs, or skinned/boned thighs, I have to go to H-Mart, the big, regional Korean grocery store.

In India, I have two choices - butcher shop chicken or supermarket chicken. Supermarket chicken is bone-in and skinned, and rarely available as a whole bird. Most often it's a package of thighs, bone-in but skinned breast chunks, or randomly chopped segments that could be reassembled into a half of a bird.

I can get a whole, skin-on bird at the unrefrigerated butcher stall, although the butcher usually sells them chopped into chunks. Some stalls are "point out which one and come back in a half-hour"; others the birds are already plucked and on ice. They are only partially cleaned - eviscerated but with everything else intact in its original place, including the lungs, liver, heart, neck and feet. I actually prefer these birds because I know that they are fresh, I can cut them up the way I like, and I can clean them thoroughly while I do it. The biggest bonus is that I can use the "lesser parts" to make soup, which aside from bullion cubes, is the only way to get chicken stock in my part of India.

I live in Japan; as Maki says, breast meat is definitely cheaper than thighs. I had a hard time finding a Japanese staple (boneless thighs with skin on) in the Canadian supermarkets last summer. I wanted it for 'karaage' (Japanese fried chicken) -- it's delicious.

Question; what exactly is 'sasami,' a popular J-cut of chicken meat? The dictionary tells me it's part of the breast, but, if so, is it just sold as part of the breast cut in western countries or ??

I believe sasami are pretty much the same thing as "chicken tenders" in the US.

When i was still eating the meat i used to like legs part ( all parts of the chicken leg ) also we got unboned mostly tho from the market , not from the shop. Also i bought inner parts sometimes, heart and gizzard.

Breast part was also good.
I live in Estonia. To buy a whole chicken, its mutch expencive than parts. Also breats meat is more expencive than wings or legs.

In asian restaurants here i usually ordered foods with chicken meat and i loved drumsticks :)
Since tight and wings are cheaper to get, ppl buy these. Who has more money they prefere to buy more expencive parts.

I live in Germany and I think skinless chicken breast is the most popular with bone-in, skin-on thighs next. Only recently I was able to buy boneless chicken thighs and I often have to pre-order it. Whole chickens are pretty cheap (organic or factory farming), you can also get wings and drumsticks.

I've never seen bone-in breast before...

Sasami is called chicken tenders here in the US. Grew up in Canada with stints in Europe and Asia and I am a thigh person--so much flavor. Rarely get chicken breast but love a whole roasted bird. Cannot believe kids in the US only eating "white meat" and "white food" in general. Not raised that way for sure...

Interesting article. I live in the USA and, as you noted, people seem to favor white meat here. I've always loved dark meat myself, though! I'm rather grateful that it is the cheaper option in this part of the world. :)

Something I've found interesting (and infuriating) is how different prices can be in different regions or over a few years.

Cook's Illustrated, which I love, has taught me that a whole chicken is cheaper than parts, so I should buy that and learn to butcher it. I can do that pretty well now, but it's often cheaper to just buy the parts depending on weekly sales. They also tell you their recipes use a standard, easy to find 2-3 pound whole bird. I have never, EVER seen a whole chicken smaller than 4 pounds in any supermarket so I always have to guess at how much to increase the other ingredients.

I remember being excited about making beef stock years ago and reading about buying 10 pounds of bones to cheaply make lots of stock. The grocery store priced beef bones at $7.99 a pound, more expensive that some steaks!

I'm in Florida, and white meat is pricier than dark meat, and is preferred by most.
I'm a dark meat person myself, locally I can get leg-quarters as low as $.69 per pound. I haven;t bought a whole bird in a while, a two person light appetite household just can't eat one quickly enough.
I bone the leg-quarters myself, then make chicken stock with the bones.
I like having cheaper tastes. :)

I am Chinese and come from Singapore and thigh meat (is that dark meat?) is usually preferred because it is more tender. Of course, breast meat can be tender too if you cook it properly but it takes much more effort so we seldom use it.

We frequently eat chicken wings too and one of my favorite dishes is braised chicken feet, seen in dimsum. I've never seen any other dishes that uses chicken feet besides in dimsum.

I don't think Singaporeans typically roast or cook a whole chicken. They may buy a whole bird from the market but probably separate it into different parts and cook them separately. The only time my family eats a whole chicken is when we buy chicken rice from the chicken rice stall.

Even during Christmas, a lot of Singaporeans usually order a pre-roasted turkey or chicken from shops instead of roasting their own. I suppose most people don't know how to roast an entire bird (me included) as we don't normally do that.

I'm from Rio Grande do Sul, southern state of Brazil.

In Brazil, chicken's white meat (specially breast) was most expensive parts.

But, whole chicken wings (with drums) and chicken hearts are old tradicional appetizers in Brazilian barbecue...
So, in the last years, the price of whole chicken wings and chicken hearts rise so much... above the price of chicken's white meat!

Oh, whole chicken, here in Brazil, is cheaper than the parts... and, most times, came without the chicken heart (sold apart: reason explained above).

Tradicional chicken hearts on stew:
One of the most appetizers in Brazilian barbecue.

I'm from Northern Ireland, UK.

The most sought after cuts here are definitely chicken breasts. In our main supermarket brands, you can buy 2 or 3 chicken breasts for the same price you could a whole bird.

Whole bird is usually bought during the holidays as most people do not know how to joint a chicken or perhaps because most of the recipes here caters to the breast, most will happily pay the inflated price of chicken breast to save the hassle.

My family (we are Chinese) prefer chicken thigh meat, especially for our sandwich fillings :)

In Holland, people have the worst taste for chicken in existence. Basically, most people (people who are not especially into cooking) will only ever eat the breast meat, which is one of the cheaper parts of the chicken but also tasteless, often dry and from dubious origin (huge mega 'biofactories' with horrible living conditions for the chicken). Many people can't be bothered to pick the meat from between the bones of bone-in parts, though cheap chicken wings (also from dubious origin, but at least they are using parts that would otherwise be thrown away, as most chickens are still raised only for their breasts...) are gaining popularity.

Far behind that, but still eaten at times, are chicken legs, which together with wings is my favorite. Some people also really love chicken livers, but others (such as me) can't stand those... I often look for chicken thighs in the store, but they are a bit hard to find outside the weller-stocked shops.

Whole birds are usually only eaten on weekends or festive occasions, even though they aren't particularly more expensive they are perceived as more bothersome to prepare or somehow more 'luxurious'. It's not particularly harder to prepare a whole bird than its parts, in my opinion, but I still consider the appearance of a whole roasted bird quite luxurious and not an everyday experience. I couldn't imagine eating that on a monday evening, hah !

In Israel a whole chicken (without inner organs) is the most cheap type of meat available. chicken breast (fresh) would be one of the most expensive chicken cuts, but still cheaper than any (frozen) beef part . the most popular cut is thinly sliced chicken breast, because people make Shnitzel (breaded and fried chicken breast cuts) out of it- a favorite dish for kids (and grown ups, who grew up eating Shnitzel). The second most popular cut is the drumstick, with or without bones. However, these would be more expensive than the breast, and more difficult to find. A lot of people like liver and heart also, mostly for BBQ.

I grew up in western Canada, and I think it's pretty much like most of North America here, the whole chicken is still the cheapest, but separately the breasts are more expensive and advertised as more "desirable" than the dark meat.

However, when I was a child my family didn't have much money, so we always had the cheaper thighs and drumsticks, or the whole chicken roasted as a big Sunday Dinner kind of meal. Even now that we can afford more expensive cuts I think the dark meat is still my favourite, either because it just has more flavour or because that's just what I got used to growing up!

Also, as kids we really liked to have drumsticks because we liked the novelty of being allowed to eat with our hands. My parents immigrated from Britain before I was born, and eating with our hands was just not allowed once we were able to master a fork. Being allowed to pick up a drumstick by the end and take a bite was like being allowed to be naughty at the dinner table!

The idea that roasting the whole chicken is a complicated way to cook it is kind of bewildering to me, probably since it's one of the first "big proper meal" type things I learned to cook. To me it's more complicated to cut up the thing than to dress it for roasting, the roasting just takes oven time.

I find it's really interesting on how the culture within a single family influences which foods are familiar to someone. Canada is a country with immigrants from all over the world; I recall going over to a friend's house for dinner and being completely bewildered by the Ukrainian food that they had on offer when all the food I had growing up had been basically British in origin...

Wow, that was long and rambling and slightly off topic heheh
I do find cultural differences in what people prefer to eat to be really interesting though.

The traditional way to have a chicken here in Greece is roasted in the oven along with potatoes and a mixture of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, oregano, lots of salt and pepper. Sometimes mustard is also used.
When cooked like that, the whole bird is put in the baking pan.
The second most popular way is slowly cooked in a pot with tomato sauce and olive oil ("kokkinisto") and lots of spices (like bay leaves, allspice, a pinch of cinnamon). When cooked this way is served with either rice, pasta, or French fries.
When cooked this way, the bird is chopped in pieces (wings, thighs, breast cut in 2-4 pieces).

Hi, I am a Japanese guy living in New Jersey. I always enjoy your blog.

As you pointed, when we say chicken it means dark meat. Breast meat is considered too bland, and I think it is used ground. I have read a blog by a Japanese person living in the US, in which she said everyone looked at her like doing something very weird when she was taking dark meat and skin for herself.

Yes, skin. Another difference between Japan and the US about chicken would be about skin. In the US, it seems chicken skin is a bad guy, to be thrown away, but in Japan people love fatty, crispy, tasteful roasted skin. You can even find "torikawa (chicken skin on stick)" in any yakitori places in Japan.

For this July 4, I cooked a whole chicken by myself for the first time. Although I enjoyed dark meat, I also enjoyed breast meat, of course crispy skin on it!

It has been interesting over the past 15 years or so to watch the price of various chicken bits fluctuate. It used to be that wings were considered junk meat and you could buy them really cheap (kind of like soup bones) -- but as Buffalo Chicken Wings have grown in popularity, wings are just about as expensive as breasts, if not more so.

In the southern US, most places still prefer white meat over dark, but there's an added wrinkle--most rural areas have a large population of liver-and-gizzard-loving chicken-eaters.

On a road trip, I once noticed that the KFC restaurant in Ocala, FL, has a huge sign in the window saying, "We serve chicken livers & gizzards!" I can't think of too many other parts of the country where people not only eat the organ meat from the chicken, but use it as a selling point.

I think it's a rural-poverty thing, like the love some of my country cousins have for pickled pigs' feet (yes, that is an actual food item). When you raise the bird yourself, and you can't afford to slaughter them too quickly, you tend to eat ALL of the parts.